A FORMER mining area has been named Dementia Friendly Community of the Year at the National Dementia Friendly Awards.

The award celebrates a community that is leading the way in taking action to ensure that people affected by dementia feel included in society.

Volunteers from West Rainton and Leamside, who got the initiative off the ground, attended a prestigious ceremony in London recently, which was hosted by journalist and TV’s Loose Women panellist, Jane Moore.

Over the past year the volunteers from West Rainton and Leamside have raised awareness of dementia in their community by organising activity sessions for people living with the condition that have brought the community together.

They have created 135 new dementia friends, the youngest being seven years old and the eldest being 88.

People become Dementia Friends by participating in an information session that helps them to understand more about the condition and the actions they can take to improve the lives of people living with it.

Steering Group member Maureen Storey said: “We couldn’t be more proud to be involved in the fantastic work being done by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness and support those living with Dementia.

“The whole of our community are involved with our initiative and winning the Dementia Friendly Community of the Year award is the most amazing recognition of what we’ve been able to achieve so far, we’re all absolutely thrilled.”